We believe that the stronger the partnerships that support us, the more sustainable and impactful our work will be. Hence, Iswar Sankalpa has worked on building a network of care support through advocacy, coordination with different agencies and mental health awareness in the community.
Iswar Sankalpa’s interventions are designed by the voices of the persons we serve. Every project arises from a need voiced by a person who is our service-user.
The large array of resources the State Government has at its disposal is inadequate in the successful planning, implementation and convergence of services for the homeless and those with psychosocial disabilities, and/or mental health conditions.
Iswar Sankalpa has been engaged in intense advocacy with the State Government’s diverse departments to bring psychiatric care and allied services to the target population. This has led to a liaison with key government agencies –
i. Kolkata Police:
The Kolkata Police would, under the Vagrancy Act of 1943, periodically round up homeless persons and those declared to be ‘insane or mentally deficient’ by the Magistrate were then transferred to the Vagrants Home in Murshidabad – the only one in West Bengal earmarked for psychiatric cases, where they would languish practically unattended because of the dearth of state-employed psychiatrists.
Through advocacy, Iswar Sankalpa worked on elucidating the Police’s role as guardians of homeless persons with mental illness. Following this, in an order dated 22nd February 2010, Sri Bani Brata Basu, then Special Commissioner of Police II, with the permission of the then Commissioner of Police, Sri Goutam Mohan Chakraborty, issued instructions to all Divisional Deputy Commissioners reminding them of their duties towards the homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities under the Mental Health Act, 1987 and advised them of the procedures and protocol to be followed towards such persons. The same guardian role continues to be present in the Mental Healthcare Act of 2017.
The Kolkata Police also refers homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities to our Shelters, and helps us in the process of locating people’s families. One of our day care centres is run from the premises of the Hastings Police Station in Kolkata.
ii. General and Psychiatric Hospitals:
Iswar Sankalpa regularly accesses general and psychiatric hospitals for clients needing specialised care and provides referrals for the same.
State hospitals such as M.R.Bangur Hospital, Nilratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital, R.G Kar Medical College and Hospital, and S.S.K.M Hospital have admitted clients and helped in their recovery. Some of the clients have been rehabilitated in government homes while some have been admitted for treating their physical problems.
In most cases, Iswar Sankalpa’s advocacy and partnership has helped to curb refusals and to initiate cooperation from these hospitals. However, in some cases of refusals, and non-cooperation, Kolkata Police has extended their support to work out a resolution.
iii. Department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, Government of West Bengal:
The Social Welfare department has been supporting the shelter homes of Iswar Sankalpa minimally apart from ensuring that vulnerable persons with psychosocial disabilities receive their entitlements.
iv. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC):
The KMC has been part of Iswar Sankalpa’s activity since its first baseline study of homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities on the streets of Kolkata in 2007. Since April 2010, the Corporation has provided a space to Iswar Sankalpa which is used as a shelter for homeless women with psychosocial disabilities.
Iswar Sankalpa has successfully partnered with the Corporation to implement the Urban Mental Health Programme since 2012 in five wards (11, 26, 54, 78 and 82) of Kolkata. Through this project, Iswar Sankalpa and the Corporation are integrating mental health services with general health services being offered at primary urban care centres in order to be able to reach out to the low-income and below poverty line families.
i. Individual and Institutional Donors:
Iswar Sankalpa would like to take this opportunity to thank our most gracious and generous friends and well-wishers who have supported us throughout the years and have helped make a difference.
ii. Community Caregivers:
Persons from the community who have come forward to provide care and support to homeless persons with psychosocial disabilities revive our faith in society and the collective humanity that is required to make the world a better place.
iii. Other Non-governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations:
There are numerous CBOs, NGOs and other organisations in Kolkata and other parts of the country working for the under-privileged and marginalized sections of our society.
Iswar Sankalpa has attempted to create an informal network of care by bringing together these resources for the care of the homeless and vulnerable persons with psychosocial disabilities, as part of our referral network.
Iswar Sankalpa has also tried to use this partnership with NGOs and CBOs as a platform to spread awareness about mental health and illness in the communities and areas they work in.
iv. The Media:
Apart from giving the organisation’s successful efforts publicity and support, sensitive reporting by the media has been instrumental in raising awareness and in helping families locate their lost ones.